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s16 - Howlin' For You (®)

2020-10-14

SASKATOON, SK -- Coming into the season it is safe to say that not much was expected of defender Corey Potter.  The former 3rd round pick (78th overall) of the s15 entry draft was at best a depth piece in the eyes of the Sakatoon Wolves’ previous regime.  The question then was, with new management taking over the franchise to start the season, where did the new GM see the 6-foot-3, 222-pound stay-at-home defender.

“I’ll be honest,” said Wolves GM Chris Baker.  “When I got here, I didn’t really have a lot to go off of.  The previous management team took just about everything with them.  Right down to stationary and even scouting reports.”

An unfortunate set of circumstances to be sure, but what the snafu did allow was a clean slate for all of the organization’s unsigned prospects.  For Potter, this was a godsend of sorts.

“To start the offseason management met with every single player in the organization.  I feel like it was that meeting where I really was able to sell myself and let the bosses know exactly what I had planned for my game,” said the 22-year-old.

Unwilling to delve into the details of the conversation stating that it was a discussion prefered to stay private, what we can tell is that the young defenseman has found a home on the Scottsdale Hatters’ 3rd pairing alongside another feel-good defender in 33-year-old Pavel Kolarik.

“He’s been amazing to play with,” Potter said of his aging partner.  “He’s sneaky good.  Pav is a perfect complement to my style,” he added.  “I feel like together we’ve been able to form a pretty reliable shut-down pairing.

We would agree.

Through Scottsdale’s first 53 games, the pair have combined to go plus-43, with Kolarik leading the club in +/- with a plus-22 and Potter sitting at a plus-21 for second.  Impressive considering where each came from to start the season.

For Kolarik, the results shouldn’t seem all that surprising.  It was but a season ago while playing for the Los Angeles Kings affiliate in New Haven that he amassed four goals and 17 points in 66 games with the Knighthawks.  Most impressive though was his outstanding plus-32 rating in just over 17 minutes of icetime per game.

As an aging veteran defender in a league quickly becoming inundated with young skilled rearguards, Kolarik knew it would be tougher to land a regular shift, which is why he agreed to a league minimum 1-year contract with the Wolves organization after being released by the Kings this offseason.

It could not have worked out better for himself or for his rookie d-partner. 

Together the two have set out to put the rest of the organization on notice, that both have come to play and give it everything they got.  Because when you’re a late round “throw away” or an aging veteran looking for one last shot, what else do you have to lose.

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